Japans | Motivatie | Obatarian | Problemen | Studenten |

Een Jaar In Huis ten Bosch:
2. Motivation

As a devotee of Igo, a Japanese game of skill, I heard that Japanese was one of the most difficult of all languages to study. However, being given a second change to study again at age 39, I decided to set my mind to it. I would be able to communicate with the world's leading players who visit Europe every year during the European championship, and their vast literature would no longer be 'puzzling' to me.

Also I might be able to find numerous interesting new jobs. My ideas about Japanese language were confirmed, a bit less than half the students dropping out during the first year. You encounter completely new sounds with no relation to English, French, German or Dutch. The complicated writing system of Japanese katakana, hiragana and kanji ) makes you respect the genius who thought of our 26 letter alphabet.

The grammar, luckily, is not all that difficult but you have to get used to leaving out objects whenever possible, and always be mindful of the level of politeness to be used.

After having put in much effort in the first year and still not being able to conduct a conversation with a native speaker, there is no better motivation than studying the second year in Japan. Most foreign students have to study at Japanese universities, which becomes only effective after they have mastered the language pretty well, but that was just what we came to Japan for.

The second year of the Japanese course at Huis Ten Bosch is taught in much the same way as in Leiden, with the same exams, but with much added value. Every day Huis Ten Bosch being a theme-park attracts lots of tourists, who welcome the opportunity to talk with real Dutch people wearing wooden shoes. Only one should not be surprised if the Japanese want to know how we keep our mills rotating if there is no wind, since all the mills in Huis Ten Bosch work on electricity.

© Ger de Groot

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